PARLIAMENT of CANADA

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Publications - June 7, 2012
 






Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security


NUMBER 045 
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1st SESSION 
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41st PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Thursday, June 7, 2012

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

  (1645)  

[English]

The Chair (Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, CPC)):
     Good afternoon, everyone. This is meeting number 45 of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. It is Thursday, June 7, 2012.
    This afternoon we are commencing our committee's study of the economics of policing. We have agreed to conduct a study into all aspects of the economics of policing, by speaking to federal, aboriginal, provincial, territorial, and municipal police forces in all areas of enforcement, with a focus on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement.
    Our first witnesses are from the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. This afternoon—and I thank Mr. Graham, deputy commissioner of the RCMP, for allowing it—we are going to combine the RCMP and the Department of Public Safety.
    I need to apologize. We are in votes. The last couple of weeks in Parliament here before the summer break are usually a little wild. That's kind of been the case with unexpected votes. That being said, unfortunately, because of timelines, we still must conclude today's meeting at 5:30. Our intent is not to go beyond 5:30.
    We want to hear you and have each of you give your opening statements, and we want to have some questioning. I may adjust the time on some of the questions. We would also ask and reserve the right to invite you back sometime. This is an important study we're commencing, and we wanted to hear from you folks first.
    We have Mr. Shawn Tupper, who is the assistant deputy minister of the community safety and partnerships branch. Mr. Mark Potter is the director general for the policing policy directorate. Also, we have Deputy Commissioner Steve Graham, of the east region.
    I think there will be only two opening statements, perhaps from Mr. Tupper and Mr. Potter. We look forward to those comments.
    Mr. Potter.
Mr. Mark Potter (Director General, Policing Policy Directorate, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness):
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. It's great to be here today to talk to you about the important topic of the economics of policing.
    The economics of policing is about the evolution and sustainability of policing. It is a wide-ranging issue that involves police services and boards, governments, the judiciary, private security, academia, other stakeholders, and all Canadians. It is both a challenge and an opportunity for Canada and many other countries.
    In terms of the Canadian—
    The Chair: Just one moment. I have a point of order.
Mr. Rick Norlock (Northumberland—Quinte West, CPC):
    On a point of order, Mr. Chair, I know the information that's being provided to us by the witnesses is very important, but we do have it in printed form. We are very capable.... Perhaps we could ask the witnesses for a précis not to exceed, let's say, seven or eight minutes. We have their speeches. We could formulate our questions to the witnesses and therefore have more questions than statement. That would be my submission, based on agreement from the other side.

  (1650)  

The Chair:
    I hesitate to have them cut back their statements, because it does get right in....
    You're correct, we do have the written statements. Would you prefer...?
     It looks as though we would prefer to hear from you, so please continue, Mr. Potter.
Mr. Mark Potter:
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    In terms of the Canadian policing context, the Minister of Public Safety is mandated to provide leadership for public safety and policing in Canada. The minister also provides direction and is accountable to Parliament for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

[Translation]

    Provincial governments have the primary responsibility for policing in Canada, based on the “administration of justice” authority in the Constitution Act. To a considerable degree, from an operational perspective, that responsibility has been delegated to municipalities, who provide the majority of policing services in Canada.

[English]

     All governments in Canada are increasingly engaged on the issue of the economics of policing. They are striving to address rising police costs and public expectations for police services to deal with a wide range of criminal and non-criminal issues—for example, addiction and mental health incidents—at a time of fiscal restraint.
    In addition, police associations such as the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Police Association, representing front-line officers, and the Canadian Association of Police Boards are not only engaged on this issue but also providing leadership.
    Most importantly, police services themselves are striving to improve their efficiency and effectiveness as well as to assess and implement new models of community safety.
    Finally, efforts are also under way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the broader justice system, as that has a direct impact on policing costs.
    It is only through such broad-based engagement that Canada can address the economics of policing, build a momentum of reform and innovation, and sustain Canada's policing advantage.
    Although the Government of Canada is but one of the many partners on this issue, the Minister of Public Safety has been providing strong leadership. The minister introduced the issue of the economics of policing at the most recent meeting of federal, provincial, and territorial ministers of justice and public safety in Charlottetown in January 2012. At that meeting, a presentation on the economics of policing outlined a number of general facts and considerations. These include the following:
    Overall we are witnessing increasing demands on police, both criminal and non-criminal, combined with decreasing reported crime rates. At the same time, spending on police has been increasing steadily, more than doubling since 1997 to over $12 billion annually. In policing, performance measures are not well developed or widely applied. As a result, there is limited clarity as to the efficiency and effectiveness of police spending. Also, there are not always sufficient modern management skills in some police services, and there is limited expertise to help police services reform. Finally, the public as well as some police leaders, boards, and unions may resist change.
    More specifically, the presentation in Charlottetown to ministers also focused on the costs of policing. There are a variety of cost drivers in policing. These cost drivers range from fuel to compensation to new crimes to procedural requirements, to name just a few. Salaries and benefits typically make up 80% to 90% of police service budgets. Therefore, human resources and their management are key aspects of policing efficiency and effectiveness.
    As you know, policing is a complex and difficult job, for which officers should be fairly and competitively paid. The fact is that the increasing costs of policing have been driven in part by significant growth in police officers' salaries. We have witnessed a 40% increase in police officers' salaries over the last decade, which outpaces the Canadian average of 11%. Much of this is a result of the ratcheting up of salaries through collective bargaining with first responders, a concern for many cash-strapped jurisdictions.
    There are other factors driving increasing police costs. New priorities and new types of crime have emerged, such as financial and commercial crime, Internet-based crime, the globalization of organized crime, and a heightened focus on national security and terrorism threats, which have expanded the focus of police work.
    In terms of procedures, police work has become more time-consuming and complicated. There are numerous examples of changes that have made police work take longer than it did in the past. These include the time required to prepare a warrant, to process a driving-under-the-influence charge, and to gather documents for disclosure, to name just a few. This has a direct impact on the costs of policing and highlights the importance of ensuring that all of the requirements imposed on police by the justice system are carefully reviewed and well founded.
    Canada is not alone in facing these cost challenges. Other comparable countries are facing similar cost increases. Some countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, are taking aggressive and often blunt measures to address rising police costs. There are many examples of these types of measures.
    In the U.S., Los Angeles Police eliminated 600 civilian staff in one year. Phoenix Police stopped recruitment and held 400 positions vacant. Newark Police laid off 170 sworn officers and 210 civilians and demoted 110 officers. Illinois State Police cut more than 20% of their sworn officer personnel.

  (1655)  

     Those are but a few of the many examples throughout the United States. The U.K. is targeting cuts of 14% to national policing expenditures by 2014-15, which is expected to result in a reduction of more than 16,000 officers, or 11% of total officers.
    In contrast, the federal government is taking measured actions to address those areas for policing for which it is directly responsible. The government's deficit reduction action plan outlined in the 2012 budget included a reduction in RCMP funding of $195 million annually by 2014-15. The RCMP is implementing this plan through administrative and operational support efficiencies. No cuts to front-line policing are expected. In addition, the new 20-year RCMP police service agreements that were recently signed with contract jurisdictions include cost containment as a key objective. Reviews are already under way in specific areas in support of that objective.
    As this approach suggests, an important goal is to address rising police costs in Canada in a planned and well-considered way that avoids some of the drastic responses applied in the U.S. that have caused considerable dismay among police officers and the communities they serve. In that vein, most Canadian police services, if they act soon, have the opportunity to assess their current levels of efficiency and effectiveness and respond with well-considered strategies rather than have blunt core cuts forced upon them by fiscal necessity. In fact, incremental measures to improve efficiency and effectiveness in policing are under way in some jurisdictions, but to varying degrees. These measures include defining and focusing on core police services, increased use of civilian staff, cost recovery for certain services, and the use of technology.
    More fundamentally, new and innovative approaches to policing and community safety have also emerged. One example of this is the hub model employed in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, which is aimed at addressing the root causes of crime in the community. The hub brings together different municipal agencies to identify at-risk youth, share information, and implement proactive strategies. This model is based largely on experiences in the U.K., and has already produced some compelling results in terms of significant decreases in certain types of crime in Prince Albert.
    After the presentation in Charlottetown, federal, provincial, and territorial ministers agreed on the following two next steps with respect to the economics of policing: first, to share information among jurisdictions and police services on policies and practices that have improved the efficiency and effectiveness of policing; and second, to convene a national summit on the economics of policing.

[Translation]

    Going forward, we have established a FPT working group on the economics of policing to share information among jurisdictions and police services on policies and practices that have improved the efficiency and effectiveness of policing so that we can all learn from one another.

[English]

    Public Safety Canada is leading the planning for the summit on the economics of policing in conjunction with provincial and territorial colleagues. The objectives of the summit are to increase awareness of the issue of the economics of policing and grow the foundation for reform and innovation by governments, judiciary, and police services; to provide practical information on improving efficiency and effectiveness, and new models of community safety; and to get ahead of the issue and continue the momentum of reform and innovation, and sustain Canada's policing advantage. These goals can only be realized through inclusion and the constructive engagement of everyone involved in policing.
    In fact, this summit will build on the dialogue that is already under way as a result of the government's and association's efforts, as well as the actions of key policing stakeholders, such as the Canadian Police College and the Police Sector Council. The agenda for the summit is being developed, and input from this committee would be welcome.
    The summit is planned for mid-January in Ottawa. The agenda would be oriented around the following three pillars: efficiencies within police services, new models of community safety, and efficiencies within the justice system. The summit will be hosted by Public Safety Canada, with support and participation from all policing stakeholders. A wide variety of speakers will be invited to the summit, including police officers and chiefs, police civilian staff, ministers and other elected officials, government policing officials, association representatives, and academics from Canada and elsewhere, particularly the U.S. and the U.K.
    It is important to note, however, that as we advance this issue, we will need to broaden the dialogue with non-police stakeholders in order to develop a whole system approach, as other sectors can have a direct impact on policing costs. An example of this is the mental health care sector. Developments in that sector can have significant impacts on policing in terms of the number of calls for service, police operations, and police training.

  (1700)  

     That concludes my opening remarks.
    I welcome the committee's interest and engagement on this issue. The committee's input on some of the big questions, such as the future of policing and defining core policing, could be very helpful, as would your views on containing costs, facilitating change, and innovation in policing. Your engagement will contribute to the dialogue that is under way and strengthen the momentum of reform necessary to sustain Canada's policing advantage.
    I'd be very pleased to answer any questions.
    Thank you.
The Chair:
    Thank you very much, Mr. Potter.
    We'll move quickly to Mr. Tupper, please.

[Translation]

Mr. Shawn Tupper (Assistant Deputy Minister, Community Safety and Partnerships Branch, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness):
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    All of my comments are simply add-ons to Mr. Potter's. I will focus on matters related to aboriginal people.
    My branch is responsible for the management of the First Nations Policing Program which provides funding towards policing services that are professionally dedicated and culturally responsive to the First Nation and Inuit communities they serve.
    Financial contributions under the program are shared with provinces and territories. The federal government contributes 52% of costs, and the provinces or the territories contribute 48% of costs. Currently, the First Nations Policing Program provides funding for policing services for almost 400 first nation and Inuit communities in Canada.

[English]

    Since the program's inception in 1991, it has promoted a consistent and standards-based approach to policing in first nation and Inuit communities. It is a recognition that making progress on improving conditions in aboriginal communities requires the involvement of all parties with a vested interest in achieving better outcomes—namely, the federal government, provincial and territorial governments, and first nation and Inuit communities.
    At the community level, there are examples that show the program is making a difference. In Hobbema, Alberta, the dedicated presence of additional RCMP officers under the FNPP has helped to reduce crime, increase personal safety, and raise the level of trust between the community and the police. In the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, RCMP officers funded under the program work closely with other areas of the community, including the health centre, victim services, and youth initiatives, to provide an integrated approach to community-based policing.
    Despite these successes, first nation and Inuit communities continue to face particular public safety challenges, including higher crime rates, poor socio-economic conditions, and a growing youth population. These factors underscore the need for effective, sustainable police services.
    As my colleague noted in his opening remarks, the economics of policing represent both a challenge and an opportunity. This is equally true for policing services provided to first nation and Inuit communities.
    First nation and Inuit police services are no different from other police services in Canada, in that they provide professional police services consistent with provincial police legislation. As a result, they experience the same cost pressures that all Canadian police services are experiencing, such as increasing costs for salaries and benefits.
    In addition, first nation and Inuit police services face unique circumstances that contribute to the rising costs of policing. The difficulties in recruiting police officers to work in remote areas have resulted in significant costs associated with overtime for some police services. First nations located near urban centres are vulnerable to gang-related and illegal drug activity due to the degree of mobility between urban centres and nearby reserves. Prisoner transportation costs are high. Some first nation and Inuit communities lack detention facilities, so prisoners must be transported to nearby detachments. Fuel costs continue to rise, particularly for police services serving remote communities. The cost of operating and maintaining detachments and equipment in remote first nation communities has increased. This is due in part to the shorter winter road season, which requires more goods to be flown into communities. Finally, police officers must travel in order to undertake requalification and other training, as training is often not provided locally. There are also costs associated with backfilling for officers who are away on training.

[Translation]

    However, the economics of policing discussion also presents an opportunity for first nations police services. A recent program evaluation of the First Nations Policing Program recommended that Public Safety Canada assess whether the objectives of the First Nations Policing Program could be achieved more effectively and efficiently through innovative service delivery approaches. To this end, in 2009-2010, a pilot project was launched to explore the use of special constables as a cost-effective means to assist the File Hills First Nation police service in Saskatchewan.
    I continue to work closely with my colleagues in Public Safety Canada, with provinces and territories, and with first nation and Inuit communities to determine the direction of the First Nations Policing Program for the coming years.

  (1705)  

    I welcome your questions on the First Nations Policing Program. Thank you.

[English]

The Chair:
     Thank you very much.
    If it would be all right with the committee to give me the prerogative to cut back to five minutes instead of the seven, then we'd get as many in as possible.
    Ms. Hoeppner, please take it for the first five.
Ms. Candice Hoeppner (Portage—Lisgar, CPC):
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you very much to the witnesses for being here. I apologize that we were late.
    There is so much fantastic information contained in your presentations. I would like to have some time to look at these presentations. We almost could build our study around a lot of the information you brought to us. I hope the committee would agree to invite you back again so we can have some quality time to ask you some questions.
     We're undertaking this study, and it's huge. There are many parts to it. What would you think would be some of the main points we should hit on? At the end of your presentation, Mr. Potter, I think you said that we could help answer some questions of future policing, defining core policing, as well as provide our views on containing costs and facilitating change and innovation in policing. I appreciate that. Could you expand on that? I would really appreciate your direction on the way this committee should go as we undertake this very big study.
Mr. Mark Potter:
    Thank you very much, and I appreciate your question.
    We identified the two objectives for the summit as awareness and practical information. It's about expanding the body of awareness that there are challenges facing this sector and that the police and others involved with the policing sector should be looking for solutions. They should be looking at what works in other parts of Canada and other parts of the world, learning from that, and applying that practical information to bring about the sort of change that is the best fit for their communities and their jurisdictions.
    It's about what we can learn from others who are currently going through this process, whether it's the U.S. model, where notwithstanding some of the blunt actions in a number of jurisdictions, there are jurisdictions where they're taking a more measured approach, or the U.K. and some of the significant reforms that are under way there. Other places in Europe, such as Holland and Germany, are also undertaking some pretty significant changes.
    It's about what we can learn about the evolution of policing and draw benefits and best practices from that.
Ms. Candice Hoeppner:
    Would you be aware of other jurisdictions that, for example, have done very well in the mental health part of policing and public safety, where we could draw some wisdom from them?
    You also spoke about the high cost of salaries and benefits. There was so much in your presentation. I almost need time to look at it a few times to really formulate the questions, but you talked about different jurisdictions cutting back.
    If that isn't what we would want to recommend, because we want to continue with our good front-line policing, are you aware of other jurisdictions that have had successes, for example, on the issues of mental health or salaries?
Mr. Mark Potter:
    Yes, and I wouldn't want to mislead this committee in any way. With regard to my role and the department's role with respect to policy, we're hoping to bring some focus and coordination that will precipitate some action, but as you know, the jurisdictional responsibilities are such that the provinces, municipalities, and the associations are the key groups in terms of ultimately bringing about change.
    In terms of mental health and addiction issues, there are some innovative things happening in Alberta, involving the Calgary, Edmonton, and Grand Prairie police. Special teams are put together, bringing together police and mental health workers to deal with crisis situations and particular incidents.
    There's a lot we can learn about particular developments within Canada. Speaking to those police chiefs and those directly involved is the best way to get that information.

  (1710)  

Ms. Candice Hoeppner:
    Right here within Canada, we have solutions and best practices we can draw from.
    On the salaries question, I was kind of surprised. Did you say that salaries for policing have increased by about 40% over the last however many years, whereas the general public's salaries have increased by about 11%? Is that what you said? Why is there such a huge difference? Were they underpaid? Why is there such a huge difference in increase for policing as opposed to the general public?
Mr. Mark Potter:
    That's a complex story. It depends where you look.
    Particular jurisdictions give police increases for different reasons. This is data from Statistics Canada. When you look at the overall trends, it has been quite a significant increase for policing generally. The nature of the work is complex. It is difficult. The skills and the kind of judgment required in police officers are such that there needs to be a certain level of salary to attract and retain those individuals.
    That would be a question for particular jurisdictions and why they've offered those salaries. Certainly we've read that collective bargaining has played a role in some provinces more than others. The levels of pay increases established among various first responders creates a precedent effect. There are a number of aspects to that.
The Chair:
     Thank you very much, Ms. Hoeppner.
    We'll now move to Mr. Garrison for five minutes.
Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, NDP):
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    There is lots of food for thought here, and obviously we want to discuss with you further.
    I have a question about the term “economics of policing”. I'm trying to get my head around what that really refers to. In terms of economics, is it just a cost question? I see this referring to two things, and I'll just check that with you. One, of course, is costs, and the other is who is bearing those costs. By using the word “economics”, is the intention to cover both of those?
Mr. Mark Potter:
    I've been involved in this issue for about four or five years, and if you ask five other people involved in this issue you might get six different opinions about what that actually means. It ultimately ends up being a discussion of costs in many cases. But more broadly, it touches on all aspects of policing. So it's about the evolution and sustainability of policing. It's not just what's happening within the sector itself; it's public perceptions of what is happening. When you look at police costs rising and crime going down, with the public increasingly aware of that and other fiscal pressures in health and education, you have a different public dynamic emerging with respect to policing. That's part of the debate as well.
Mr. Randall Garrison:
    If we think of levels at which we approach policing, there's a kind of mission statement of what it is that we expect police to do. There's a strategies and approaches level of how they're going to do that. Then there are the tools the police have to work with.
    Where would you say the economics of policing is? Is it going to cover all of those things, or is it aimed at approaches and strategies?
Mr. Mark Potter:
    I think most of the people engaged in this issue see it as touching on every aspect of policing.
Mr. Randall Garrison:
    What we've seen in the current fiscal climate is some large cuts in policing, sometimes at the provincial and municipal level, but also specifically with a $195 million cut to the RCMP budget. My question is not about that, since I know you're not doing the budgeting, but if we're looking at changing the approaches and looking at some new initiatives, like the very well-intentioned human trafficking measures that were just announced and that we'll have measures in the RCMP to deal with sexual harassment, it seems to me that we have the cart before the horse, where we're making these cuts without the benefit of this study and this consideration of policing. Maybe you can't make any comment on that, but it seems to me we need the benefit of this, because decisions are going to be made at a fairly dramatic level before we've thought through these things.
    The Chair: Mr. Graham.
Deputy Commissioner Steve Graham (Deputy Commissoner, East Region, Royal Canadian Mounted Police):
    Thank you very much.
    Good afternoon, everyone.
    I can't really talk about decisions around the reductions and the amounts and that sort of thing. It's not within the realm of the organization, other than how we respond to it. I would like to comment, however, on some of the previous discussion relative to policing, the cost, and those elements.
     We need to be careful and informed about letting the data and the evidence inform us as to what the state of play is. It's certainly not consistent across the country. There are ebbs and flows, and some of those drivers tend to come out of the context or environment where the policing is being done. It also comes out of what people are expecting from their police service. Some of that investment that's been made in some areas may not have been made in others, and vice-versa.
    When you look at the data, if you look at it on a cost-per-citizen basis, which I think permits some relativity when you're looking at policing cost, it informs you somewhat to then arrive at some conclusion about what those costs are relative to a comparable municipality or province or whatever the circumstance would be. That is helpful when we look at this issue.
    Generally, it sort of comes down to this: try to reduced costs where possible; re-engineer different ways of delivering the service and those kinds of things; manage demand for service, or what we refer to as call management, and how we ensure that the police get the calls they should and ensure that calls that aren't police calls go to the appropriate location; and that we have an opportunity to share costs across public safety. There are a lot of players within public safety, so we should be looking at opportunities to ensure that we are maximizing the investment for certain outcomes. We need to come to ground on what those outcomes are that we want and we need to assign some values in that, quantitative and qualitative.

  (1715)  

The Chair:
     Thank you very much, Mr. Graham.
    We'll now move to Mr. Norlock, quickly, for five minutes, and then to Mr. Scarpaleggia.
Mr. Rick Norlock:
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Witnesses, thank you for appearing today.
    This is for either Mr. Potter or Mr. Tupper, but I suspect it will be Mr. Potter.
    You mentioned several other jurisdictions in the world—the U.S., U.K., and Holland. Did you do a comparison on the rise in policing costs vis-à-vis salaries, etc.? You mentioned 40% for Canada. Is it the same experience in those other countries?
Mr. Mark Potter:
    I'm not aware of the precise data on that question. Part of the challenge of this issue, as my colleague mentioned, is having the right research, the right data on which to build decisions.
    Looking at what's happening across Canada and in other jurisdictions around the world is a big part of this, so when you have other witnesses, whether they're criminologists or other police services or associations, we're all engaged in building that base of knowledge from which we can advance.
Mr. Rick Norlock:
    Thank you for that.
    We might as well deal with what we do know. When you were comparing salary increases, the police were at 40% and the rest, the private sector, was at about 11%. What were overall public sector salary increases? Were they about the same as 40%? Were they less? Were they more than 11%?
Mr. Mark Potter:
    I don't have that information. We'd have to drill down on that.
Mr. Rick Norlock:
    I think that's necessary for us to do.
    I have some questions for Mr. Graham.
     I gather you've had close to 30 years of police experience.
D/Commr Steve Graham:
    I wish.
Mr. Rick Norlock:
    How many years have you?
D/Commr Steve Graham:
    I have 37 years.
Mr. Rick Norlock:
    Even better, you have 37.
    Would you not say you've gone through several cycles of austerity and then times of plenty when you got a little extra money so that you could do some of the extra things that police services like to do?
D/Commr Steve Graham:
    Yes, I would very much say so.
Mr. Rick Norlock:
    Do you recall other police forces doing things like limiting the number of patrols—in other words, having officers justify the number of kilometres at the end of the shift? So if police were told they had 90 kilometres to run on their shifts and they did more, they would have to report.
D/Commr Steve Graham:
    Yes, I remember models similar to that.
Mr. Rick Norlock:
    The times of so-called cost-cutting are normal cyclical things governments do.
    Does the RCMP police according to the theory of community-based policing?
D/Commr Steve Graham:
    Yes, we do.
Mr. Rick Norlock:
    Would you recommend that this committee talk to people in the community base maybe, because the community has specific wants and desires for its police force that may not necessarily always be what the police think is good for it? Is that a correct statement?
D/Commr Steve Graham:
    That's a fair assessment.
Mr. Rick Norlock:
    I can tell you that there was some discussion. Just to give a small snippet of perception, I can recall an officer saying one time, “Why do we send a police officer to do a report of a stolen car just to verify that Mrs. Jones's car is not in her driveway?” The decision was made that maybe we shouldn't send police, but then we found out that the only time in her life she ever wanted to see a police officer was the day her car was stolen.
    So would you agree with me that this is the conundrum we face? They are asked to cut back and then they have to look at the practicalities.

  (1720)  

D/Commr Steve Graham:
    Yes, and you raise a very good point. If you'll just hear me for a moment, one of the strategies we're using to deal with that—which is why I was speaking about the call management piece—is to put officers in these call centres to call back citizens on some of these complaints and to explain what our response will be, so they had better understand that having an officer at their door doesn't really add value to them or resolve their issue or problem.
    We've had a fair amount of success on that. Along with working on crime reduction, we're actually trying to move from community-based policing into an intelligence-led policing model that takes all of the attributes of community-based policing and adds on what technology is giving us now and how we manage and mine intelligence. That creates a much better resolution for the citizen.
Mr. Rick Norlock:
     Thank you very much.
The Chair:
    Thank you, Mr. Norlock.
    We'll now move to Mr. Scarpaleggia, please, for five minutes.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.):
    Could you clarify that last point about mining intelligence? I'm sorry, but I didn't follow it.
D/Commr Steve Graham:
     Well, as an example, if you consider a municipality as an example.... We'll take the car theft case. What happens in a lot of car theft cases is that sometimes it's organized groups that are stealing cars for a purpose: to strip them, sell parts, or actually send the cars to other locations. In other cases, there are joyriders.
     Mining the data we have in how the cases are reported and the kind of information we're developing in our investigations allows us to come to some conclusion about what exactly is occurring here. So then we can respond to that, and often we have good ideas about suspects who would be good, prime candidates who could be involved in this.
    The best illustration would be in Codiac, in the tri-communities of Moncton, Dieppe, and Riverview. We had cases where they could actually get ahead of the incident and start predicting where the culprits were going to show up. So they would be there in advance of the event occurring and would catch them in the act. When we talk about predictive results from intelligence, that's what we're striving to get to.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
    In terms of the lack of data, there seems to be a serious lack of data, as you say. For example, from the year 2006 to 2010, we added I think 6,000 more police officers in Canada. Does that make sense? Is this figure realistic, more or less? Does that make sense to you?
D/Commr Steve Graham:
    Well, I'm sure that in every case it made sense. The issue is, in the collective, were there other options? I think that's the challenge for modern police leaders.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
    No, but what I mean is, does that sound like a correct figure to you—6,000 more police officers?
D/Commr Steve Graham:
    To be honest, I couldn't tell you what the position is across Canada. There has been a fair amount of growth.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
    I'm told, though, that it's very hard when looking at the increase to determine how many of the additional police officers are front-line officers. Would you agree that it would be difficult to ascertain?
D/Commr Steve Graham:
    Well, I think the obvious way of doing that would be to reach out to the many police services. If you concentrate on police services of more than 50, I think there are something like 82 or 84 in the country that would meet that test, so that would be a good place to start.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
    You'd be able to collect that information...?
D/Commr Steve Graham:
    Well, I think the police services would be able to tell the researchers how many of their staff are front-line staff.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
    But so far nobody is collating that information. Is this one of the problems?
D/Commr Steve Graham:
    Well, Statistics Canada collects a great deal of data relative to policing resources in Canada: costs, criminal measures, crime rates, crime severity indexes, and so on. We may in fact have the data.
    I guess my point earlier, when I raised the point on data, was that we need to look at it and come to a conclusion about what it's telling us. So in your research, or research from the department, that would be important.

  (1725)  

Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
    When you say that we need to collect that data and analyze it, is there an initiative, other than what we're trying to do here, that will not involve crunching data? Is there a nationwide initiative under way, perhaps in conjunction with StatsCan, to gather information? I was told that StatsCan does show that there are 6,000 more police officers than there were in 2006, but they just can't tell you how many of them are front-line officers.
    You said in your presentation that we need better data, but is somebody doing something about that? I know that you're having a forum or a conference, but is that just a one-time event? Or is somebody going to be charged—some kind of federal-provincial-territorial working group—with actually getting the data we need to make the intelligent decisions that you're saying need to be made to contain costs?
Mr. Mark Potter:
    I think that's an excellent question and an area that I'd encourage this committee to look into. Certainly we do have some capacity in Canada at StatsCan, within the individual police services themselves, and within certain associations, particularly the police boards.
    But if you compare us to the United States, say, you have not only universities—such as Harvard—and the Department of Justice playing a pretty big role in gathering and interpreting data, but you also have, in the U.K., some even more advanced models, where you have the National Policing Improvement Agency and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, which do a lot of this cross-cutting data-gathering and analysis, which gives them a very robust foundation for looking at how policing is evolving and at its efficiency and effectiveness. So when they're looking at bringing about change, they have a stronger base to do that.
    So I'm not suggesting that we don't have the capacity in Canada, but there is, I believe, some room for improvement.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
     On the question of the increase in salaries—
The Chair:
    Very quickly, Mr. Scarpaleggia.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia:
    —and payroll, I understand that as the positions become more complex, you need to offer more to attract the people with the skills to do the job. But for the most part, the police unions don't have the right to strike, so how can they use collective bargaining so effectively to extract such large salary increases and such generous pension benefits if they don't have the right to strike?
     I just don't understand, I guess. You would expect that maybe with teachers or someone who can go on strike and paralyze a society....
The Chair:
    Thank you very much, Mr. Scarpaleggia, for concluding today's meeting.
    We very much thank you for coming here and bringing your level of expertise.
    I noticed that in Mr. Tupper's presentation he referenced Hobbema. Hobbema is close to where Mr. Rathgeber lives and close to where I live in Alberta. In regard to any success stories coming out of Hobbema, we'd be very interested in hearing about them, because it's generally not the success stories that we hear every other night on the radio or the television.
     I think that if we do have you back we'd be very interested in that aboriginal aspect as well. Are we getting value for our moneys that are invested in aboriginal policing? Those are some of the questions that may come in the next round.
    Thank you very much. Again, our apologies. The way Parliament is working is cutting back on your testimony here, but we do appreciate you and we look forward to you coming again.
    We're adjourned.
ParlVU